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Nats name rookie Lopez starter for Saturday's game against Braves

Nats name rookie Lopez starter for Saturday's game against Braves

The Nationals will be calling up right-hander Reynaldo Lopez to make another spot start on Saturday as they host the Atlanta Braves in the second of their three-game series.

Lopez, 22, will make his third start with the Nats. So far he's allowed nine earned runs in 8 2/3 big league innings with one start against the Dodgers and another against the Giants.

The Nats didn't need to call up a fifth starter for Saturday, even with Joe Ross sidelined with right shoulder inflammation. But the Nats felt this was a good spot for Lopez and a good time to give the rest of their rotation a rest.

"That’s his day and also this will be the last opportunity to give these other guys an extra day off, because this 20 in a row, at this time of year, it’s going to be very, very instrumental in how we end up. It’s also tough on your pitching staff," manager Dusty Baker said. 

"Especially when you’re going to Colorado from here... I’ve been in that division over there and we would sweep them sometimes, but then the pitching staff is in a bad way when you leave from there, because you had to use everybody and never really feel comfortable and they play well there."

Lopez last pitched for the Nats on July 30. He made one minor league start with Triple-A Syracuse on Aug. 7 and gave up five earned runs in five innings of work.

Lopez has been part of a revolving door at the No. 5 spot in the Nats' rotation since Ross landed on the DL on July 3. They've also tried out top prospect Lucas Giolito, who has struggled much like Lopez.

Baker said the situation has not been ideal.

“I’d rather settle on one guy, but it depends on the person. If one guy steps up that would make our decision a lot easier. We’ll see, I mean, everybody likes a set program if you have one versus having to mix and match, but you do what you have to do," he said.

The Washington Post first reported Lopez' latest call-up.

[RELATED: Nats GM Rizzo strongly denies report on Bryce Harper]


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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.